Challenge of the Superfriends is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes which ran from September 9, 1978, to December 23, 1978, on ABC. The complete series (16 episodes) was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for Warner Bros. Television and is based on the Justice League and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics and created by Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky. It was the third series of Super Friends cartoons, following the original Super Friends in 1973 and The All-New Super Friends Hour in 1977. It continued to air on Boomerang in the United States until February 2, 2009.
|Challenge of the Super Friends|
|Also known as||'Super Friends III'|
|Genre||Adventure / Animation / Fantasy / Sci-Fi / Superhero|
|Created by||E. Nelson Bridwell|
Julius Schwartz (consultants)
|Written by||Jeffrey Scott|
|Directed by||Ray Patterson|
|Creative director(s)||Iwao Takamoto|
|Voices of||Jack Angel|
|Narrated by||William Woodson|
|Theme music composer||Hoyt Curtin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||16 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||William Hanna|
|Editor(s)||Larry C. Cowan (supervising editor)|
|Running time||60 minutes (including commercials)|
|Production company(s)||Hanna-Barbera Productions|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 9 –|
December 23, 1978
|Preceded by||The All-New Super Friends Hour|
|Followed by||The World's Greatest Super Friends|
As originally aired, this season an adventure with Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Wonder Twins, similar to those that had aired the previous season in The All-New Super Friends Hour. Thanks to these episodes being shown using the opening credits of the All-New Super Friends Hour in syndication.
The second segment of this season featured Challenge of the Super Friends was a 16 episode series that came the closest to the comic books. Not only did Challenge have the Justice League of America, it was the first official Super Friends series to feature DC Super Villains from the comics. And this series had 13 of them together as an alliance called the Legion of Doom. Superman foes like Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Toyman, and Bizarro, and Batman foes like the Riddler and Scarecrow. The Legion of Doom dwelled in a murky swamp and launched their attacks for global conquest from a sinister looking, swamp-based, mechanical, flying headquarters, called the Hall of Doom (which resembled Darth Vader’s helmet) as a suitable contrast with the Super Friends' gleaming Hall of Justice. Every week, the Legion schemed to either get rid of or destroy the Super Friends so they can conquer the world. The Super Friends themselves consisted of 11 Justice League heroes.  the first segment alone being used with the Challenge of Super Friends opening, and confused references to the show it is often mistakenly believed that the first and second segments were two separate shows.
When the Challenge of the Super Friends season was originally conceived, it was named "Battle of the Super Friends" and featured the introduction of Captain Marvel to the Super Friends. The group that challenged the heroes was called the "League of Evil", led by Marvel's nemesis Doctor Sivana. However, Filmation produced Shazam! and The New Adventures of Batman which prevented the use of characters such as Mister Atom, King Kull, Beautia Sivana, Joker, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Catwoman. Early conceptual art drawn by Alex Toth would also include Heat Wave, Poison Ivy, and Abra Kadabra.
Bill Woodson provides the uncredited voice of the narrator in Challenge of the Super Friends, and the opening narration was by Stanley Jones. The show's main theme and original music was composed and arranged by musical director Hoyt Curtin. The music supervisor was Paul DeKorte. Character designs for this particular Super Friends series were done by Andre LeBlanc.
Hanna-Barbera's writers experimented with team composition as well. Challenge of the Super Friends added The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and Hawkman (Katar Hol) who were members of the Justice League of America, as well as several new characters: Black Vulcan (who was based on the DC Comics character Black Lightning), Apache Chief, and Samurai. These characters were created to add racial and cultural diversity to the show (this was also mentioned in some of the episode introduction extras on the first two Challenge of the Super Friends DVDs).
Eleven heroes make up the Super Friends/Justice League of America. They are:
Thirteen villains comprise the Legion of Doom during the Challenge of the Super Friends season. They are:
Despite the claim in the program's title sequence that the Legion's members hail from "remote galaxies", only Brainiac and Sinestro are extraterrestrials; the remaining members are all natives of Earth (Even though Bizarro called Bizarro World home he was created by Lex Luthor via duplicator ray on Earth technically making him a 'native' of Earth). Solomon Grundy is a zombie, an animated dead person, as the episode Monolith of Evil makes clear. In History of Doom, even Solomon Grundy supposedly dies from the solar flare.
Warner Home Video (via DC Entertainment, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and Warner Bros. Family Entertainment) originally released this season of Super Friends on two separate DVDs on June 1, 2004, the first one being Challenge of the Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom, which featured the "Challenge" segments, and the second being Challenge of the Super Friends: United They Stand, which featured the Super Friends segments. Both DVDs only featured four episodes. The first season with the Challenge episodes was re-released as Challenge of the Super Friends: The First Season on July 6, 2004. The second one with the Super Friends episodes was named Super Friends: Volume Two and was re-released on May 24, 2005.
|Title||Type||Ep No.||Release date|
|Challenge of the Super Friends||The First Season||16||July 6, 2004|
|Super Friends||Volume Two||16||May 24, 2005|
Cartoon Network produced a couple of commercials spoofing Challenge of the Super Friends.
In 2003, Cartoon Network Latin America aired the spoof series The Aquaman & Friends Action Hour that starred Aquaman as a children's television show host and the Legion of Doom as his bankrupt villains.
The two NBC televised live-action specials of Legends of the Superheroes produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions was based largely on Challenge of the Super Friends while featuring Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin of the 1966 Batman television series fame (West would go on to voice Batman in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians). The Justice League starred Batman, Robin, Captain Marvel, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Huntress, and Black Canary against the Legion of Doom which featured Mordru leading Doctor Sivana, Riddler, Giganta, Sinestro, Weather Wizard, and Solomon Grundy (Superman, Wonder Woman, and their associate characters were absent due to the Superman film and Wonder Woman television series licensing the rights, respectively).
Despite using the main theme from The World's Greatest Super Friends, the 2010 DC Super Friends "The Joker's Playhouse" shares several elements of its opening sequence with Challenge of the Super Friends including introducing the Legion of Doom.
The opening sequence of the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special parodies the opening of Challenge of the Super Friends with the Legion of Doom substituted for Robot Chicken original characters Chicken, Mad Scientist, Nerd, Humping Robot, Composite Santa, Gummy Bear, the Unicorn, and Bitch Puddin'. The Legion of Doom, Hall of Doom, and Hall of Justice also feature prominently in the episode.
Apache Chief is a Native American superhero from the various Hanna-Barbera Super Friends cartoons and the DC comic book series of the same name. He was one of the new heroes added (along with Black Vulcan, Rima the Jungle Girl, El Dorado and Samurai) to increase the number of non-white characters in the Super Friends' ranks. He was voiced by Michael Rye in most of his appearances, Regis Cordic in his debut appearance, and Al Fann in "History of Doom".
In the Challenge of the Super Friends series, Apache Chief was seen in every episode except one, but had spoken lines in only nine out of the sixteen episodes of the series. His arch enemy from the Legion of Doom was Giganta, who was originally an enemy of Wonder Woman.Aphrodite (DC Comics)
Aphrodite is a character in DC Comics. She is based on the Greek deity of the same name.Carl Urbano
Carl Urbano (December 20, 1910 – October 16, 2003) was primarily an American Animation Director.Giganta
Giganta is a fictional character appearing in DC Comics publications and related media. A longtime enemy of Wonder Woman and an occasional foil for The Atom, Giganta possesses the superhuman ability to increase her physical size and mass, effectively transforming into a giantess. Her first appearance (Wonder Woman #9, volume 1, published in 1944), written by Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston, presents her as a brutish strongwoman. Later adaptations (including appearances on Hanna-Barbera's popular cartoon series Challenge of the Super Friends in the 1970s) introduced Giganta's size-changing ability, a feature which has been retained to date.Imaginext
The Imaginext System is a brand of role-playing, adventure toys designed for kids 3 or older made by Mattel, as part of their Fisher-Price brand.Legion of Doom
The Legion of Doom is a group of supervillains that originated in Challenge of the Super Friends, an animated series from Hanna-Barbera based on DC Comics' Justice League. The Legion of Doom has since been incorporated into the main DC Universe, appearing in comics, as well as further animated and live-action adaptations.Legion of Doom (hacking)
The Legion of Doom (LOD) was a hacker group active from the 1980s to the late 1990s and early 2000. During its heyday from around 1984-1991 Legion of Doom was widely considered to be the most capable hacking group in the world. To this day, LOD ranks as one of the most influential hacking groups in the history of technology. Their name appears to be a reference to the antagonists of Challenge of the Super Friends. LOD was founded by the hacker Lex Luthor, after a rift with his previous group the Knights of Shadow.
At different points in the group's history, LOD was split into LOD and LOD/LOH (Legion of Doom/Legion of Hackers) for the members that were more skilled at hacking than pure phreaking. The overall beliefs of LOD and MOD (Masters of Deception) were different, but it can be difficult to untangle the actions of the members since there was a cross-over between the two groups.
Unlike the hacking group MOD, there were different opinions regarding what the Legion of Doom was. LOD published the Legion of Doom Technical Journals and contributed to the overall pool of hacking knowledge. They considered themselves not causing any direct harm to the phone systems and computer networks they took over. Still, many LOD members were raided and prosecuted for causing alleged damage to systems (Grant, Darden and Riggs, etc.).List of Super Friends members
The following is an overview of the members of the DC Comics superhero team known as the Super Friends (Super Powers Team in the final season), an adaptation of the Justice League of America.List of Super Friends supporting characters
The following is an overview of the various characters that were secondary (therefore, recurring) to the main characters in the animated Super Friends series.List of Super Friends villains
The following is an overview of the various villains be featured in the long running Super Friends franchise.Michael Rye
Michael Rye (born John Michael Riorden Billsbury; March 2, 1918 – September 20, 2012) was an American actor and voice actor. His decades-long career spanned radio, television, animated cartoons and video games. Aside from his voice over work, Rye also acted in on-screen television roles as well, including parts in Dr. Kildare and 77 Sunset Strip.Robot Chicken DC Comics Special
Robot Chicken DC Comics Special is an episode of the television comedy series Robot Chicken and it was aired as a one-off special during Cartoon Network's Adult Swim on September 9, 2012.
A DC Universe special, in collaboration with DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. Voice actors are Seth Green as Batman, Robin and Aquaman, Paul Reubens as the Riddler, Neil Patrick Harris as Two-Face, Alfred Molina as Lex Luthor, Nathan Fillion as the Green Lantern, Megan Fox as Lois Lane, Breckin Meyer as Superman, and Kevin Shinick as the narrator. Cast also includes Abraham Benrubi, Alex Borstein, Clare Grant, Tara Strong, Matthew Senreich, Aaron Paul, Steven Tyler, Tom Root and Zeb Wells. It was followed by the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise, which premiered April 6, 2014.Samurai (Super Friends)
Samurai is an Asian superhero in the Super Friends animated television series. His real name is Toshio Eto, and he is of Japanese descent. He was one of the later additions to the team along with other ethnically diverse heroes in an effort for the show to promote cultural diversity. His voice actor is Jack Angel. In addition to being a prominent figure in several other animated shows, Angel also did the voice for The Flash and Hawkman.
Samurai appears in The All-New Super Friends Hour, Challenge of the Super Friends, Super Friends (1980), Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. Besides being inserted to create diversity, Samurai, in a sense, took the place of Red Tornado with whom he shares similar wind-based abilities. After sporadic guest appearances, Samurai grew into a prominent team member in the series' later seasons.
Samurai appeared in the DC Comics Mini Series Super Powers. He also had an action figure in the Super Powers Collection line produced by Kenner. A character resembling Samurai appeared in a double page spread in the Infinite Crisis hard cover trade collection. The actual Samurai made his first appearance in the comics several years later during the Brightest Day event.Super Friends
Super Friends is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes, which ran from 1973 to 1986 on ABC as part of its Saturday-morning cartoon lineup. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera and was based on the Justice League of America and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics.
The name of the program (and the Justice League members featured with the Super Friends) has been variously represented (as Super Friends and Challenge of the Super Friends, for example) at different points in its broadcast history. There were a total of 109 episodes and two backdoor-pilot episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, with Batman and Robin appearing in "The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair" and "The Caped Crusader Caper".Super Friends (1980 TV series)
Super Friends is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes which ran from 1980 to 1982 on ABC. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and is based on the Justice League and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics. It was the fifth incarnation of the Super Friends series following Super Friends (1973), The All-New Super Friends Hour (1977), Challenge of the Super Friends (1978) and The World's Greatest Super Friends (1979).Wonder Dog (Super Friends)
Wonder Dog is a fictional canine superhero from the original Super Friends television series. The character appeared in both the animated series, as well as the comic book of the same name, but was not incorporated into the DC Universe until 2008.Wonder Woman (Earth-Two)
Wonder Woman of Earth-Two is a fictional DC Comics superheroine retconned from original stories by Wonder Woman writer and creator William Moulton Marston and his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston. This version of Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941). This was after DC Comics established a multiverse in their published stories to explain how heroes could have been active before (and during) World War II and retain their youth and (subsequent) origins during the 1960s.
The Earth-Two Wonder Woman was first featured as a character separate from Wonder Woman (known as Earth-One Wonder Woman) in the second Jay Garrick and Barry Allen comic. Earth-Two Wonder Woman had appeared several months earlier in one comic-book panel.Like most of the older Earth-Two incarnations of the DC characters, this version of Wonder Woman was semi-retired when she reappeared in later stories (with gray hair and wrinkles in later Justice League stories). She appeared in many later Earth-Two features, including the multigenerational Infinity, Inc. series featuring her daughter Fury.
She (and her version of earth) were eliminated in a company-wide storyline, Crisis on Infinite Earths. After this series she ascended to her world's Mount Olympus with her husband, General Steve Trevor, reaching godhood. Although Diana Trevor was eliminated due to the storyline's outcome, her daughter was not. Fury (Lyta Trevor) was later revealed as the child of Helena Kosmatos, the New Earth World War II Fury. The Earth-Two Diana Trevor reappeared in mainstream DC Earth in Infinite Crisis as an apparition, fading away after speaking to new counterpart Wonder Woman.
Another storyline, 52, was created; in its aftermath, alternate versions of the pre-crisis Earth-Two characters were introduced. Although distinct from their pre-crisis Earth-Two versions, similarities persisted. Post-crisis Earth-Two Wonder Woman was mentioned by her daughter Fury, but appears only in a picture taken before the death of Bruce Wayne and the disappearance of their Superman. Post-crisis Earth-2 Wonder Woman retired from her Earth's Justice Society team, and the comic suggests she is the current Queen of the Amazons; this did not happen to Earth-Two Diana Trevor before she ascended Mount Olympus to become a goddess with her husband.
A parallel character was scheduled to appear in the 2012 series Earth-2. The post-flashpoint Earth-2 Wonder Woman was the sole surviving Amazon of her source Earth, but the fate of the other Amazons of post-flashpoint Earth-2 is unknown.